This is My Son: Listen to Him
Saturday, February 19,2022
Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
by Fr. David M. Knight
Mark 9:2-13. Year II: James 3:1-10; Psalm 12:2-8.
Jesus has just given the ultimate challenge of the Good News: Give all to get all. Stop clinging to life or anything life on this earth offers, and you will have “life to the full” forever (John 10:10). Now Jesus jumps ahead and gives us the ultimate assurance that he will deliver what he promises. He shows himself in a preview of his glory. “Six days later” [the “seventh day,” preview of the Sabbath?], Jesus took Peter and James and John, and “led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them.”
Jesus was shining with a glory beyond anything imaginable in this world. Moses and Elijah were speaking with him. Then Peter, always jumping to false conclusions, said, “Let us make three shrines here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He thought he was “promoting” Jesus up to the level of the two representatives of the Law and the Prophets, making him one of the “Big Three.”
He got the number right, but the reality wrong. Jesus belongs to a Three beyond all bounds of creation. He is not just an interpreter of the Law and the Prophets. He is the Word itself, whose words are the words of God. The Father makes this clear by speaking as he did on the day of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan (1:11):
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
God himself is saying Jesus is the Messiah. Whether we think he is Good News or bad news, he is God’s news, and we need to listen to him. His glory is hidden on earth and will be almost effaced during his passion. But Peter, James and John, who are the three who will see Jesus crushed and begging the Father for relief in his agony in the garden (Mark 14:33), are granted a preview of the glory that was, is, and will be his forever (see John 17:5). Mark reports it to give us courage to accept the challenges that are to come.
In answer to his disciples’ question, Jesus explains that the “Elijah” who was supposed to come before the Messiah was in fact John the Baptizer, who was delivered up and killed. John defeated shows us a different kind of Elijah (cp. 1Kings 18:40; 2Kings 1:10-12) and Jesus will be a different kind of Messiah.
Christians can’t survive with just ground-level insight. We have to be aware of Jesus in his glory to accept the scandal of what he calls us to be and do.
Initiative: Live in the past, present and future. Christ died, rose, and will return.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry